Will Net Zero Get Us to Net-Zero Emissions?

Despite its merits, net zero isn’t a perfect mechanism for addressing climate change. Here are 15 of its limitations—and our recommendations for fixing them.

By Martin Reeves, David Young, Julia Dhar, and Annelies O’Dea, Boston Consulting Group, April 6 2022.

The growing number of companies making net-zero carbon commitments offers a ray of hope for progress on climate change. Currently about 33% of world’s largest companies and more than 50% of countries have pledged to reach net zero, with target dates varying mostly between 2030 and 2050….

Moving Beyond Net Zero

In addition to enhancing net-zero mechanisms, we must pursue a more multidimensional view of sustainability and put in place the financial, operational, technological, behavioral, and cultural support to enable the transformative action necessary to achieve climate sustainability for the planet.

Multidimensional view of sustainability: Consider sustainability beyond the single dimension of carbon emissions to include all relevant factors, including other GHG emissions, species diversity, air and water quality, and nature preservation. This multidimensionality can help to overcome the risks of oversimplification.

[… Read more at Boston Consulting Group ]


In Response to a New Study Revealing Approaching Diabetes Epidemic Among American Children, National Physicians Group Provides Roadmap to Curb Crisis, Improve Health of Young People

PCRMApril 1, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Trends in prediabetes among children aged 12 to 19 doubled in the last 20 years, according to a survey study published yesterday in JAMA Pediatrics. According to data from the U.S. government’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999-2018, 1 in 5 children has prediabetes. This trend, NHANES reported, stayed true across socioeconomic and other variables such as weight, household food security, race, and age.

In a message today to NHANES Director Ryne Paulose-Ram, MA, PhD, the Physicians Committee, a nonprofit group of 17,000 doctors, outlined key steps to curb this approaching health epidemic.

“Despite the prediabetes crisis among young people, there has been no large-scale, meaningful response from health leaders,” says Adjunct Professor of Medicine at George Washington University School of Medicine and President of the Physicians Committee Neal Barnard, MD, FACC. “Physicians Committee medical staff are prepared to assist in implementing the following strategy, which is a solid start to a response commensurate with the crisis at hand.” …

[ … Read more at PCRM ]


Burger King ends all-vegan London branch trial amid prediction trend will become norm

Critics say trial in Leicester Square is ‘manipulative’ but expert says fast food ideally suited for plant-based dishes

Helena Horton, The GuardianApril 14, 2022

All fast food will eventually become vegan, a leading plant-based restaurateur has said, after Burger King trialled making one of its flagship restaurants completely meat-free.

The Burger King outlet in Leicester Square, London, has been offering only vegan food for a month to test its popularity. This includes a plant-based version of its Whopper burger, as well as a “chicken” katsu burger and vegan nuggets.

Burger King said it would reintroduce meat options at Leicester Square but was exploring rolling out some of the most popular dishes from the trial in branches nationwide. In the meantime, the Vegan Royale, Vegan Nuggets and Plant-based Whopper will remain on the menu across all restaurants as standard, it said.

James Lewis, who works in marketing and product development for the vegan restaurant 123V on Bond Street, London, said this was part of a growing trend….

“Fast food is 100% the best area to switch to vegan,” Lewis said, adding: “The chains are often sneered at by people but they are setting the trends here. There’s no point starting a vegan chain because once McDonald’s figure out how to make a good vegan burger, they will think: ‘What’s the point in the cost of keeping all these animals when we can make it just as good and grow it in the ground?’

“Not too long from now, people will be getting their burger and it’ll be a vegan one and that’ll be the norm and they won’t think any different.”

Burger King has set a target of a 50% meat-free menu by 2030….

[ … Read more at  The Guardian ]


University of Michigan Life Cycle Assessment shows sustainability benefits of plant-based meat over conventional beef

Oct. 1, 2018, School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan

Dr. Martin Heller, research specialist at the Center for Sustainable Systems in U-M’s School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS), conducted a peer-reviewed life cycle assessment to quantify the environmental impact of the production of the Beyond Burger through it’s distribution to retailers. The study shows that production of the Beyond Burger has a significantly lighter environmental footprint—from a sustainability perspective—than production of traditional beef hamburgers. Compared to a ¼ lb. of U.S. beef, producing a ¼ lb. Beyond Burger requires:

  • 99% less impact on water scarcity

  • 93% less impact on land use

  • 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions

  • Nearly 50% less energy

Research brief:http://css.umich.edu/project/comprehensive-comparison-plant-based-and-animal-based-protien-sources-beyond-meats-beyond

Forbes article:https://www.forbes.com/sites/katrinafox/2018/09/26/this-vegan-brand-just-proved-that-plant-based-burgers-are-more-sustainable-than-those-made-of-beef/#24620050475a

[… Read more at , School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan ]


Mayor Adams to expand plant-based eating clinic to all five boroughs

Jaclyn Jeffrey-Wilensky, Gothamist, February 7, 2022

On the heels of “vegan Fridays,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams says his administration will be expanding a chronic disease management program that focuses on diet, exercise and other lifestyle factors rather than medication.

The Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program, piloted at Bellevue starting in 2019, will open up clinics in five new Health and Hospitals locations across the city this year, officials announced during a press conference, prior to a mayoral vegan chili cooking demonstration on Monday.

In addition to the original Bellevue location, patients will be able to enroll at Health and Hospitals Jacobi and Lincoln in the Bronx, the Brooklyn sites of Woodhull and Kings County, Elmhurst in Queens and Gotham Health Vanderbilt in Staten Island….

“New York is going to change the conversation about using food not to feed healthcare crises, but to stop the crises,” Adams said, adding that he credits his diet, described as a “plant based-centered life,” for his management of his type II diabetes…..

Studies suggest that a diet low in animal foods and rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds can slash the risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases. In 2017, about 12% of New Yorkers reported they were diabetic, according to city data. Black and brown New Yorkers are more likely than their white peers to be diabetic, and diabetes rates are highest in low-income neighborhoods. Black New Yorkers are also more likely than any other group to die prematurely of heart disease….

[… Read more at ]


Vegan Fridays for All? More Schools Offer Plant-Based Meals

by Steve Holt, Civil Eats, March 21, 2022

New York joins Miami, Los Angeles, and the District of Columbia in expanding plant-based offerings for students.

In February, the New York School System, which serves 1.1 million students in 1,800 school cafeterias, began serving hot, plant-based meals to all students on Fridays following an executive order by the city’s newly elected mayor, Eric Adams.

New York City Department of Education spokesperson Jenna Lyle says “Vegan Fridays” build on the success of Meatless Mondays, first introduced in 2019, and Meatless Fridays, introduced in April 2021. Besides the hot vegan meals on Fridays, cold plant-based options like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and hummus and pretzels are available every day, Lyle says….

“Plant-based options in schools means healthy eating and healthy living and improving the quality of life for thousands of New York City students,” said Mayor Adams in a recent statement. “I’m thrilled to see that all students will now have access to healthy foods that will prevent debilitating health conditions.”

New York joins Miami, Los Angeles, and the District of Columbia in expanding plant-based offerings for students. And for good reason—according to the Plant Based Food Association, 79 percent of respondents in Generation Z report eating a plant-based meal one to two times a week. Despite this rise in “flexitarianism,” however, just 14 percent of school districts nationwide offer plant-based meals in at least one school….

[… Read more at Civil Eats ]


Liberal Platform Commitment: $1 billion over 5 years

School Nutrition and Healthy Eating

Children need healthy, nutritious food to grow and learn. Currently over 3 million children in Canada are living without guaranteed access to nutritious school meals.
A re-elected Liberal government will:

  • Work with our provincial, territorial, municipal, Indigenous partners, and stakeholders to develop a National School Food Policy and work towards a national school nutritious meal program with a $1 billion dollar investment over five years.
  • Introduce new restrictions on the commercial marketing of food and beverages to children and establish new front-of-package labelling to promote healthy food choices.


See also:

“Finally, Liberals are putting school food programs on the menu”

January 19th 2022

Healthy, delicious school food could soon be on the plates of millions of Canadian children after the federal government recently committed to tackling the issue at a national level.

In December, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tasked the ministers responsible for agriculture and children and social development with creating a national policy for school food. It is the first time the federal government has committed to supporting school food programs. These programs typically provide free or heavily subsidized breakfasts and lunches to all students, and have been shown to improve public health, support learning, and boost economic growth.

Canada is the only G7 country without a national school food program, ranking 37th out of the world’s 41 wealthiest countries when it comes to feeding schoolchildren, according to a 2017 UNICEF study. The situation is particularly dire in Québec and the Western provinces, where only a fraction of schools have food programs. In contrast, almost all schools in the Atlantic provinces and the three territories have meal programs, according to 2021 research from the University of Guelph….

[… Read more at  ]


UK Students Call for Plant-Based Meals at Universities to Fight Climate Change

student-led outreach campaign supported by the climate and animal justice group Animal Rebellion has mobilized hundreds of students at over 20 UK universities. The students are calling for their universities to drop animal products from their catering menus before the 2023-24 academic year. 

Student activist Vaania Kapoor Achuthan, 19, from University College London says that in order to ensure a sustainable future, major institutions like colleges and universities have a responsibility to move “towards 100% just and sustainable plant-based catering.” Achuthan and other students argue that universities choosing to include animal products in their cafeterias not only illustrates complicity in the climate crisis, but also makes it more difficult for them to reach their sustainability goals.

Despite a 2006 United Nations report that found that animal agriculture emitted more greenhouse emissions than all of the transportation sector combined, progress mitigating the impact of animal agriculture on climate change has been slow, and the situation has grown more dire. Animal agriculture currently contributes at least 37 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, although estimates vary, is responsible for 65 percent of anthropogenic nitrous oxide emissions, and is the leading cause of deforestation around the world. Livestock emissions also account for 32 percent of human-caused methane emissions, which account for 30 percent of global warming to date. The environmental justice group CimateNexus reports that greenhouse gasses could be cut in half by the adoption of a plant-based diet, which is why these students are lobbying their universities to drop meat from their menus.

[… Read more at Sentient Media ]


Tilting menus towards plants cuts meat eating, study shows

Damian Carrington, The Guardian, Jan. 31, 2022

Making more sustainable choices easier could be a more acceptable approach than meat taxes, say researchers

Tilting menus towards plant-based meals significantly cuts the amount of meat eaten, according to new research.

The experiments in work and university cafeterias showed making it easier to choose meat-free food can be effective and could be a more acceptable approach than other proposals, such as taxing meat or banning it on certain days.

Meat production is an important driver of the climate crisis and red meat in particular is linked to heart disease and other illnesses. Substantial falls in meat consumption are needed in rich nations to curb global heating and ill health.

The new research, published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, involved three separate experiments, including the first scientific online study of plant-based menu choices. This used a representative sample of 2,200 UK adults and found that when three of four meal options were meat-based, 12% chose the plant-based option. But when three of four meal options were vegetarian, 48% chose the vegetarian meal. The effect was the same whether the participants were female or male, rich or poor….

[… Read more at The Guardian ]


Netherlands announces €25bn plan to radically reduce livestock numbers

Tom Levitt, The GuardianDec. 15, 2021

The Dutch government has unveiled a €25bn (£21bn) plan to radically reduce the number of livestock in the country as it struggles to contain an overload of animal manure.

A deal to buy out farmers to try to reduce levels of nitrogen pollution in the country had been mooted for some time, and was finally confirmed after the agreement of a new coalition government in the Netherlands earlier this week….

While being lauded internationally as the “tiny country that feeds the world” and the continent’s biggest meat exporter, the Netherlands has been struggling at home with a pollution crisis caused by an excess of farm animals.

“We can’t be the tiny country that feeds the world if we shit ourselves,” said MP Tjeerd de Groot, from the Democrats 66 party, which is part of the coalition government in the Netherlands.

The country has the highest density of livestock in Europe – more than four times that of the UK or France – with more than 100 million cattle, chickens and pigs in total.

The animals produce manure which, when mixed with urine, releases ammonia, a nitrogen compound. If it gets into lakes and streams via farm runoff, excessive nitrogen can damage sensitive natural habitats.

The highest Dutch administrative court found in 2019 that the government was breaking EU law by not doing enough to reduce excess nitrogen in vulnerable natural areas, due to farming and industrial activities.

The 13-year multibillion-euro plan, published today, includes paying some Dutch livestock farmers to relocate or exit the industry, and helping others transition to more extensive (as opposed to intensive) methods of farming, with fewer animals and a bigger area of land….

[… Read more at The Guardian ]